East West Rail boss stands down

East West Railway Company interim chief executive Beth West is to stand down at the end of May after her contract expires.

West (pictured), a former HS2 commercial director and Balfour Beatty regional managing director, joined the client delivering the East West Rail (EWR) Oxford-to-Cambridge railway project in 2022.

West said she had decided the time was right to depart at the end of her contract, having put the project on a firm footing.

“When I started at EWR Co, it wasn’t even clear if government would back the project,” she said. “We now have clear government support [and] a real focus on what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and who we’re building it for.

“As the company moves into a new phase, I’ve reflected that now is the time for me to move on, with EWR Co ready for the future, while I’m ready for a new challenge.”

The first stage of statutory consultation for the project will open in the summer.

Rail minister Huw Merriman said: “Beth has been instrumental in bringing fresh perspective to East West Rail – a major project that will transform rail journeys for millions of people between Oxford and Cambridge.

“Beth has overseen significant developments during her time as CEO and rightly kept the communities this railway will serve at the heart of the project throughout. 

“I thank Beth for providing such a meaningful contribution over the past two years and wish her all the best for the future.”

West will continue as interim CEO until May and will then “continue to be available to support the transition” process for the new chief executive until the end of July.

West left Balfour Beatty in January 2021 after a year at the company. She has also held roles at Landsec and Transport for London, as well as acting as commercial director on HS2 and as head of commercial for Thames Tideway.

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